Children forcibly recruited into fighting ranks in South Sudan, IDPs warn

By Chondok Stephen Magei

Internally displaced people at Bentiu Internally Displaced People’s camp have warned of a massive forced recruitment of children into the fighting ranks of both the government forces and opposition group of the SPLM-IO

According to the chairman of the IDP camp, Thaya Wicyoak Leay, many school children are among those being forcibly recruited without even “considering children right for education.”

Citing an incident, Leay said a group of children who were playing football at Bentiu IDP camp were forcefully taken by armed men and transported to Juba by plane.

“Warring parties use children not only as fighters, but as scouts, cooks, porters, guards to protect them and many school children have gone missing in the protection of civilian site,” Leay told Juba Echo.

“I call upon human rights to condemn forced recruitment in Bentiu IDP camp,” he said.

“Use of children by armed forces is a grave violation of child rights and international humanitarian law.”

Reached by phone, the Joint Police Commander in Bentiu, Col Manyang Tap Chuol denied the accusation saying they are only acting to round up soldiers who deserted cantonment.

“Our organized forces are looking for soldiers who deserted our cantonment sites to Bentiu IDP camp for several reasons,” Chuol said.

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